Patients like NHS dentistry


A recent Department of Health survey shows that 83% of patients found their NHS dentistry good or very good. 93% were successful in finding a dentist to see them under the NHS. Two of the most common reasons given for not seeking an NHS appointment were that they were happy with private treatment. 

Interestingly, dentists practising privately find they see a constant stream of patients dissatisfied with NHS dental provision. 


Main results:

§  510,000 responses, 38% of the 1.4 million people contacted.

§  60% of adults in the survey tried to obtain an appointment with an NHS dentist in the two year period prior to answering the question in January to March 2012.

§  93% of respondents who tried to obtain an appointment within the past two years said they were successful (a success rate of 95%, when excluding those who didn’t remember the outcome).

§  Respondents who tried more recently were more successful. 95% of respondents trying within the past three months and within the past six months stated they were successful (96% success rate excluding can’t remember respondents).

§  85% of respondents tried to make an appointment with a dental practice they had previously attended. Of those who went on to answer whether they successfully made the appointment, 97% stated they did

§  For the 12% of patients who sought appointments with a new dental practice in the last two years, 77% were successful, 21% were unsuccessful and 3% couldn’t remember the outcome; 

§  North East SHA area had the largest percentage of the adult population seeking an NHS dental appointment in the last two years, at 67%, whilst South Central SHA had the smallest, where 53% sought an NHS appointment.

§  Success in getting an appointment. North East SHA and East of England SHA had the largest percentage, with 95% stating they were successful over the last two years. London SHA had the lowest percentage with 89%.

§  For patients seeking an appointment in the last two years at a practice they had not been to before, East of England had the largest percentage successful, with 82%, Yorkshire and Humber had the smallest (69%).

Overall Experience of NHS Dentistry:

§  83% of respondents rated their overall experience as positive (47% very good and 37% fairly good).

§  This increased to 87% when looking at those who had been to the practice before, compared to 63% for those who were new to the practice.

Adults who have not tried to get an NHS appointment in the last two years:

§  40% of respondents did not try to get an appointment with an NHS dentist in the last two years.

§  The most frequent reason was ‘Not needed to visit a dentist’, which was mentioned by 19.3% of adults not trying for an NHS dental appointment in the previous two years.

§  This followed closely by ‘Stayed with their dentist when changed from NHS to private’, with 19.2% and ‘I prefer to go to a private dentist’ with 19.0% of the share.


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